October 12 – The English Premier League faces a backlash from fans after agreeing a deal with domestic broadcasters Sky and BT Sport for games not already being shown live to be offered via pay-per-view.
So far this season, the two broadcasters have been showing every single Premier League fixture live to subscribers – a temporary measure due to spectators being barred in grounds because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under the new interim plan, those matches not already selected for broadcast in the month of October will now be available only for purchase via pay-per-view platforms.
Sky Sports said the matches will be priced at £14.95 pounds per game in the UK and €16.95 in Ireland.
“The Premier League has come to this decision with its clubs to provide a service for supporters who are no longer able to attend and to generate matchday revenue,” said Sky Sports Managing Director Rob Webster.
But squeezing even more money out of fans, some of whom are paying up to £80 per month for Sky and BT Sports, smacks of greed at the worst possible time in the current financial climate.
England’s Football Supporters Association (FSA) urged clubs to refund season ticket holders and to “reconsider pricing” of the matches.
And football finance expert Kieran Maguire described the move as a “public relations disaster”.
Top-flight clubs voted 19-1 in favour of the pay-per-view scheme on Friday – with Leicester City the only one to vote against it – but Maguire told the BBC: “Is it going into a central pot? Is it being used to bail out lower league clubs? Or is it going to be kept by the individual clubs who are playing these particular matches? It all seems to be a bit ill-thought through.”
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